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BUDGETING FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

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Social media is a complex and rapidly changing universe that can be extremely overwhelming to do alone. When you pay someone else to develop content, post regularly, or strategize your next campaign, you pay them for their work or their time, and, in some cases, both.  As it was put in Social Media Breakfast, you are paying for the “pain” of it to be taken care of.  Companies typically spend between 5-11% of their marketing budget towards social media marketing. But what are they paying for, and how much is right for you? At Social Media Breakfast, we discussed different ways to plan your social media budget.

ASK QUESTIONS:

If you go to someone asking for help on a social media campaign, they are likely to ask you what the budget is. Often, they hear, “I have no idea what it costs. So, I don’t know what the budget is.” Unless you have a set amount that you have been given, it is good to identify what you are trying to accomplish before you give an answer. These questions are crucial to your campaign regardless of whether you know your budget and offer a great starting point.

How is your business doing?

Are you making a decent amount of sales through social media? Do you only have a few subscribers? Do you lack a social following all together? You need to know where your business stands in the market (and in general) before you can create a plan to grow.

What defines success for your business?

Do lifelong customers fuel your profit? Are one-time sales enough? Do you need to keep a long list of clients? Identify what type of business you run, and what it takes to make it a success.

What are your social media goals?

Do you have an overarching long-term (or lifelong) goal you are trying to achieve, or is it a short-term promotion? Are you trying to gain more followers and become an influencer? Are you part of a multi-million-dollar company looking to generate “x” amount of sales in the next quarter? Are you promoting an upcoming event to get 100 attendees?

If you can answer these clearly upfront, the process of budgeting and hiring help will flow more smoothly.

DIVVYING UP THE FUNDS:

In spending, there are three main ways to allocate your money: space, content, and activation. Space refers to the money spent on the digital platform where the viewer will see and interact with the ad. When you are spending on digital space, it is important to consider what platforms you are using and what kind of content resonates with your audience. Different types of content look better on different platforms. Content considers the planning and creation of the campaign material including strategy and design. Strategy is the foundation of a successful campaign. Strategy helps identify what resonates best with your audience and plans to create content that efficiently engages them. In some cases, you may need more help from a strategist if you are unfamiliar with the digital landscape or your audience. Last, activation is the budget of executing the campaign and making sure it runs its full course smoothly. Content creation is likely to be what most of your budget will be put towards.

BREAKING DOWN CONTENT:

There are many different types of content, but we covered some of the main ones at Social Media Breakfast. Copy writing content tends to be about a dollar per word and you must budget for the copywriter’s time as well. Video is where it gets expensive. Companies tend to spend about 30-40% of their social media budget on videos, depending on the length and creative needs. However, there are alternatives. As it was put, “Motion is key,” and there are many other types of media involving motion that require a lot fewer dollar signs to put together. Some of these alternatives are gifs, memes, boomerangs, and cinema graphs. Some alternatives fit certain platforms better. So, it is a good idea to talk about video alternatives with a strategist or social media specialist. Last, we talked about website design. Although many people don’t consider website design in social media campaigns, keeping your site up to date and easy to navigate can do wonders for your campaign. If you have a great campaign lined up, but you aren’t getting any return, you may be having trouble moving traffic to your site. Whether entering information is too easy or navigation is too difficult; it’s a good idea to include your website in the discussion about your social media work. One piece of advice we heard was to include some content, such as a free e-book, before you ask people to give away their information. In this way, you are not necessarily making it more difficult, you are showing that there is some value and return for them sharing their information with you.

EVALUATING RESULTS:

Evaluating your results at the end of a campaign is crucial to the process of social media. The digital landscape is a constant test to see what works the most efficiently, and, usually, the tools to do so are right at your fingertips. Analytics are often included free for business or premium members and it is a wise idea to make note of these during and after a campaign. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, it may benefit you to hire someone specifically for analytic evaluation and ROI research. The numbers may have you down at the beginning, but don’t give up just yet. It is easy to get frustrated with lack of return or the sheer amount of analytics to try to comprehend at the start. Social Media is young and sometimes purely trial and error, but there are formulas and tips to help you sort through the data. Check out the “Curious how to analyze Social Media Analytics without being a Marketing Expert?” article on our Noteworthy blog and if all else fails, there are professionals that can help you through it.